Tailor-made protective equipment, tumble dryer and forklift with BlueSpot Great innovations from chemical companies and suppliers in the field of sustainability, (process) safety and human resources usually reach the local and sometimes even the national media. Small innovations, on the other hand, usually go unnoticed, while added together they may make an equally large or even larger contribution. Chemie Magazine highlights three. CUMAPOL Tumbler dryer increases flexibility of polyester recycling Cumapol (Custom Made Polyester) in Emmen focuses on the development of sustainable polyethylene terephthalate specialties (PET). The tumble dryer that the company put into use during the VNCI jubilee meeting Behind the Scenes @ Emmen in October 2018 plays an important role in this. Cumapol took over the double-walled rotating drum from the bankruptcy of a German company. Bouman Process Technology dismantled the device on the spot, adapted it to the wishes of Cumapol and rebuilt it in Emmen. Director Marco Brons of Cumapol explains what the company uses the tumble dryer for. “We are developing more and more polyester types based on recycled polyesters and / or biobased monomers for many different applications, such as form-retaining and flexible packaging for foodstuffs, monofilaments (including tennis racket strings) and machine parts. This can be by developing and producing specialties based on mechanically recycled PET. But in Emmen we also want to convert two polymerization units into a demo factory for a new form of PET recycling. In the first unit we break down the PET into a shorter polymer, so that we can properly purify and decolorize it. In the second line we rebuild it into a polymer with the original chain length. We can then post-condensate the polymer in the tumble dryer and thereby further increase the strength. ”The minimum batch size of the two current post-condensation plants is 100 tonnes. According to Brons, that is too large for the development of specialist new products. “The tumble dryer is suitable for batches of around 20 tons. In this way we increase our flexibility in product development. After all, there is an increasing demand for special sustainable polyesters, both biobased and recycled PET. In the first instance, this concerns small quantities. That is perfectly possible in the tumble dryer. ”Cumapol is working with BioBTX in Groningen, among others, to produce terephthalic acid (PTA), the most important building block of PET, based on green raw materials.
“Ultimately we want to remove PET waste within a radius of approximately 200 kilometers from the plant in Emmen. When it comes from further afield, transport costs often make it no longer economically interesting, “explains Brons. “We are identifying which partners can supply usable polyester waste, such as meat trays, colored PET bottles, textiles and carpet.” Ultimately, Cumapol wants the entire plant, which originally produced 50 kilotons of PET bottles from oil products, to be fully used again for the production of the most durable polyester. “The tumble dryer is suitable for small, specialist batches.” CAOT Travel bag with customized protective equipment. Technical and commercial employees of the Cabot Norit Activated Carbon business unit in the EMEA region receive a travel bag with a standard selection of customized personal protective equipment (PPE) issued. The idea comes from the case of Cabot employees at the Amersfoort site. “We handed over the first forty bags in 2013 to the then sales and marketing team,” says Bart Genemans, business director EMEA and manager of the Amersfoort branch. “New employees also received one afterwards.” Genemans states that employees who visit other factories should enjoy the same protection as visitors who are received in their own factories. “In addition, the customized personal protective equipment has the advantage that safety shoes fit precisely and that the helmet is adjusted to the head of the employee involved.” The travel bag contains a pair of safety shoes, a safety helmet, a safety vest with long sleeves and reflective stripes, a safety goggles, earplugs, gloves and a brochure with Cabot’s SH&E policy. Employees also take the bag on business trips abroad. Once a year, Cabot asks employees if the bag is still complete and if the personal protective equipment is still adequate. If that is not the case, they will receive new ones. According to Genemans, customers respond particularly positively. “They think it’s great that our people are well prepared and come to visit with their own PPEs. With this, we demonstrate that safety is our top priority. ”Cabot employees are also enthusiastic about their employer’s initiative. “I am now always optimally protected during visits to factories of customers and relations”,said an employee on the Cabot intranet. “In addition, we send a signal that the Cabot team takes safety, health and the environment seriously and that we care about our employees. Moreover, it is much more comfortable and hygienic to have your own custom-made personal protective equipment. ”“ Always optimally protected during visits to factories of customers and business relations ”ABIC Projected dot on the ground prevents collisions SABIC is constantly looking for ways to to further increase its locations. Peter Govaarts, EHS specialist Maintenance at SABIC in Bergen op Zoom, therefore gladly took advantage of the invitation from a chemical company that is located at the same location as SABIC to come and see the BlueSpot on a forklift truck a few years ago. Linde Handling Materials developed and patented the BlueSpot in 2011. Bright LED lights on the roof of the forklift project a striking blue dot on the ground, a few meters in front of the forklift. Pedestrians know that a forklift truck is arriving. An additional advantage is the silence of the BlueSpot. After all, forklift drivers are often disturbed by the shrill tones of acoustic reversing warning signals. Sabic had a few near-accidents with forklifts behind it and Govaarts was already thinking about possible improvements to improve safety. He emphasizes that forklift traffic at SABIC is less than at a logistics center, but that there is indeed a risk of incidents. That is why SABIC pays a lot of attention to the training of drivers. Walkways have also been laid in the warehouses and packaging areas to separate the forklift traffic from the pedestrians. According to Govaarts, the BlueSpot optical warning system has been an excellent addition to the existing measures to prevent collisions between pedestrians and forklift trucks since 2016. Fifty forklifts in Bergen op Zoom are now equipped with the bright blue LED lights. At SABIC’s request, this also happened for contractors’ forklifts. The BlueSpot at SABIC in Bergen op Zoom attracted the attention of international auditors. Govaarts: “They thought it was a great initiative and have taken it on as a good working practice. That is why the use of bright blue lights on the forklifts at other SABIC locations, for example in Spain, Germany and England, has increased. ”